Archive for May, 2010

Some interesting reading

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

And of course, my solution is find a Coach!

Until next time.


Cleaning out the closets or what treasure we find. . .

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

So I went to my storage space yesterday to look for a single piece of paper which I needed. This shouldn’t be hard, right? I have my storage space well organized and everything in it’s place and a place for everything!

Er, um, yeah. That works!

Naturally, over the course of the last year, my storage space has turned into something of a Fibber McGee’s closet. And I needed to do a little house cleaning.

Now, mind you, I was going through papers. And I had a pretty good idea where this would be. Went through several bags and boxes, a brief case or two before I finally found what I was looking for. Which was good, as it gives me a template for my next steps in marketing.

But along the way, I found some treasures. I found a letter which I can use as a template for opening doors, an assessment tool which I had thought lost or tossed, a certificate from one of my first Coaching programs, and a piece of writing which I would like to share with you later in this blog.

It was interesting to me because much of this I don’t know still existed, and much surprised me. Because my perception of myself is not as good as these documents show me to be. Not to sound conceited or narcissistic, but they show me that I have been buying into the idea that I am nothing special, and that what I contribute is, if not of any value, simply not unusual. Cultured pearls as opposed to Natural. When worn, one is not necessarily better than the other, but one has more value. Like the Ugly duckling, I have tended to not look at myself in the proper frame work and mirror, therefore I was unable to see my uniqueness and the importance of my contribution.

Interestingly enough, that is what my final paper was about in my Masters program. Maybe it is time for me to read that again. Chances are, when I completely embrace that, then I will move more fully into the richness of who I am with ease and grace.

Please, enjoy the following.

Fear and Limitations

What do you fear?
What is the worst that could happen?
And what would happen if it did?

What do you do well?
What service do you provide besides that which is on your card?
Have you asked anyone? What is the feedback?

Breathe deeply of the good things in life.
Breathe of the goodness, light, joy, love, hope.
Breathe out anger, fear, arrogance, prejudice, hate.

Listen to the laughter of children,
wisdom of sages, what ever their age.

Dance in the rain, roll in the snow,
play in the dirt. Get in touch with the earth,
and all its rhythms and sounds, it’s pulses and songs.

The earth is the mother, the heart, the womb.
She gives, brings forth and is bountiful

Celebrate every day the heartbeat, the rain
the home which we occupy.
This earth, this house, this body.

Every day there will be challenges.
Every day there will be joy.
It is up to us every day to find peace,
to find center, to find love.

And every day, we can choose to be fulfilled.

Have a beautiful day.

Things to think about. Until next time.


Anxiety, or sometimes we are just hungry!

Monday, May 24th, 2010


So today I had an interesting experience. I decided to take a long walk down Lincoln Blvd. which runs from Marina del Rey to Santa Monica. While it is a hike (I think about 4 miles) it’s also fun because there are a ton of great little shops which I never get to explore because generally I am in a car.

About half way between MdR and SM, I discovered that I was a little hungry. Stopped and took care of that, but only ate a small amount because that was what I was craving. I am learning to not over eat. I have chosen to accept that I do not have to clean my plate or order large portions. This is a bit revolutionary for me. But there it is.

On my way home, specifically when I was getting close to home, I discovered that I was feeling some anxiety and sadness. I wasn;t sure where this was coming from. I completely acknowledged that I had been working on some thing on a psychological / spiritual level which could have caused this reaction, but when I checked in, that wasn’t the feeling I got.

I came home, took care of a couple of little things, ate a salad and a small piece of meat loaf, and voila! anxiety gone!

Years ago when I was attending AA meetings with friends, one of the pieces of wisdom which someone shared was HALT – never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. In AA parlance, these were things which we as individuals could control and they were part pf taking care of ourselves. And when we chose to take care of ourselves, we were less likely to fall into old, potentially destructive, patterns.

And we have the right to take care of ourselves, nurture ourselves. If we do not, no one else will. Now, I am not giving people permission to be narcissistic. What I am suggesting is what some people refer to as the air mask effect. You know the one. When you are on the plane and they go over the safety procedures and tell the adults to put their masks on first then help the children? That one. If we take care of ourselves, we are better able to take care of others or what is in front of us. And there is less anxiety involved in the process.

But how to do this, you ask? One is to choose to be aware of what is going on with in you and outside of you. In the case of the walk, I knew that it would have been a better choice to stop somewhere along the way and grab an apple or orange to tide me over, or even a small bag of chips. Hey, I was using a lot of carbs! Replenishing would have been a good idea! In the working world, if you miss meals on a regular basis, I would suggest that you force yourself to leave your desk at a particular time on order to go eat. Even if all you do is grab your carry in and go sit in the lunch room, or on the terrace, you are taking care of yourself and changing the energy. This will help you to be able to focus more on your work.

When you are faced with competing priorities – say a report due and the kids home on holiday demanding your attention – sometimes it is easy to put yourself in last place. Heck, even with out the kids, it’s easy to do! But the question is, in the end, what does that serve? Are you performing any better when you do this? What is the reward? The pay off? Are you making good decisions when you are in that space? Or would you be better off stopping and taking care of yourself for a few moments, then making choices from a more centered place. This covers hunger, anger, physical exhaustion and yes, even loneliness. And any other thing which may be effecting our ability to make clear and reasonable choices.

And just to remind you, this is not a good thing or a bad thing, it is simply a pattern which was created and which is no longer serving us in our best interest. In my case, not stopping to eat until I got home because of not wanting to spend the money. I could have bought an orange for less than $.50. And saved myself some anxiety.

So, as I Coach, I have to ask where in your life are you not taking care of yourself? And what choices do you need to make in order to take better care of yourself? And who will you become when you do?

Things to think about. Until next time.


Thought for the day

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you have to agree with them on everything. In fact, it’s okay to not really like much of what they do, how they behave. The choice we have is whether to take it personally, and whether to spend time cultivating the relationship. Because if the other person is doing things which come into conflict with our way of being, why are we choosing to be there?

Sometimes, it’s okay to love at a distance.

More on this later.

It might be that hat. . .

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

A couple of years ago I was traveling via train through England. Now, it was June and I believe in being comfortable when I travel. I was wearing an Indian Salwar Kameez, which is basically really comfortable cotton trousers and an over sized shirt that match and a big scarf. My son tells me they are pajamas. I say they are great for sitting in a seat for several hours at a time. I also had a wide brimmed straw hat.

When I switched trains, I had a gentleman come up to me and start talking to me. This is not unusual in my world. What can I say, I am friendly. But what surprised me was that he was insistent that I was a Nun.

I think it might have been the hat.

How often do we, as individuals, look at someone or something and make multiple assumptions based on little evidence? How often do we set our filters up that we are unable to process the information that what we initially perceive is not the truth. In the case of the man on the train, he would not take my word that I was not a Nun, because in his experience, they were the only ones who presented themselves as I did.

In a larger sense, this filtering includes things such as race, religion, political affiliation and class. All of which may be totally wrong.

Remember that I live in LA. Tyne Daly once said that she wouldn’t come back and work in LA because New York was about faces, LA was about bodies and Tyne didn’t feel she was a “beautiful body” anymore and had no desire to torture herself to become one. The producers convinced her that she would not have to do so. She came back to LA, took the job on Judging Amy, was nominated and won multiple awards. Even though she had been told that she wasn’t {fill in the blank} enough to work in LA anymore.

I bring this up because this is an example of both how these filters work and when they don’t. Because so many people accept and buy into the standard ideas of what the packaging is and what the person inside is and isn’t capable of, and someone who was courageous enough to think outside the box, to understand that the person inside the packaging has more to offer, is able to meet and fulfill the goals and potentially exceed all expectations.

I am going to contradict myself a little here. I firmly believe in dressing for the role you are taking on. I also believe that it would behoove most of us to be willing to look beyond the trappings of the individual in order to more fully see the essence of who they are and to understand better what they bring to the table.

From an Executive Coaching point of view, I would suggest that my Client take a look around them and ask what they know about the people around them? How well do they know their staff? Their family? What are they capable of? What are their strengths, their weaknesses, their hopes and dreams? What do they invest in?

And look at themselves? Where does the Client have a vision of themselves which falls short of reality or does not take into account the many aspect of who they are? Does not add colour and dimension to their lives? Where are they holding onto old definitions which don’t support them or who they are becoming?

This is not an easy task. Unless you want it to be. But The Client will find that this opportunity challenges many areas of his or her life. There are many emotional attachments to these perceptions: wrong and right, superiority, pride at being able to judge something, a need to validate themselves in many areas. All of which are very, well, valid. And there is a certain amount of value in understanding this. And understanding that change happens. the question I have is this: do you want to choose how you change, or do you want to have others make those choices for you?

Things to think about. Until next time.


A ramble about discretion, integrity and confidentiality

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Discretion, integrity and confidentiality, kinda no brainers, right? You would think that there would be no question in anyone’s mind regarding these things. But you might be surprised.

Several years ago, I had a job in Contract Administration at one of the studios. Overall, it was an easy gig, I did basic admin work plus reveiwed contracts and deal memos as they approached their anniversary dates to make sure that they were handled in a timely and appropriate manner. It was actually very interesting. But also basic contract law.

One day on my list came the contracts for one of my former employers and his company. Before opening the file, I took it into my boss and let him know that I was going to defer to him to make the decision whether or not it was appropriate for me to review the contracts as I not only had worked for the principal in the past, but was also still friends with him. After an hour, Tom, my boss, came to me and let me know that he has spoken to the other legal eagles in the company and they didn’t see any conflict of interest. I reviewed the contract.

A couple of days later I meet my former boss for lunch. His assistant brought it into the office for us and we were talking about my latest post. They started asking me what various people at the studio made. I refused to tell them.

Oh, come on, Nanc, we can find out by looking at the Trades!

Then look at the trades, says I. But I can’t tell you. It would be unethical.

Who is ever going to know? Stop being so stiff!

Looked him in the eye and said, I know exactly how much you make both in salary and percentage.

Silence followed. Then he decided I was bluffing and asked me how much.

His assistant left the room.

I wrote the amount down on a post it, slid it across the desk. When he nodded, I took the post it back, tore it up and stuck it in my pocket. I later shredded it.

Because that was no ones business but his. And I did not want the information getting out because of something which I had inadvertently said.

How often do things get leaked which should never be talked about outside the confines of the file which hold it? When I was working for RazorGator, which is a secondary market place for hard to get tickets, one of the executives accidentally gave away his source in an interview with the press. The source who had trusted this executive to not reveal his name. The source was fired. There are many examples of agents, managers, executives meeting up for drinks and spilling about the latest hush-hush project, only to see it in the trades the next day because a writer was sitting at the next table.

If you are in any kind of company town, you know many examples of this.

What got me thinking about this subject is this: I was walking home from Starbucks tonight and I overheard someone talking on their mobile phone, very loudly. They were talking about a patients case and used the patient name in the conversation along with history of the patients conditions. And while I am guilty of eves dropping, the truth is this conversation should have happened in a confined, controlled space. And it got me to wondering about discretion, integrity and confidentiality.

Don’t get me wrong, there are areas in my life where I am completely open! I’ll tell you my age, my opinion on many things, and sometimes with a few trusted souls, I’ll talk about business issues which I need help straightening out. Although even then, I do so in a way which is discrete. Once upon a time I followed a certain amount of celerity gossip. Don’t do that anymore, but these people were not my clients, not my work. And in general, I was sympathetic to the celebs as opposed to the gossip rags.

Going into Coaching mode for a moment, here is the question: Are you in integrity, do you practice discretion and confidentiality? Are those in alignment with your agenda and who you are becoming? And do you improve on any of those qualities? If so, what can you do, who can you be, inorder to do so?

Things to think about. Until next time.


Sometimes, learning to communicate is scary!

Friday, May 14th, 2010

I am a member of several Internet communities. A few I have belonged to for a long time. After you have been around for a while, you get to know the people, the personalities and peoples circumstances, or at least what they are willing to share. You learn their vibe and if you are observant, you will pick up on when someone is going through something without their telling you.

Take my friend Susan. Susan is a great person. She is a single Mom, teachers yoga, pilates, works hard. Has reinvented herself several times. One of her on line characteristics is that she is always very diplomatic and supportive. She has a very compassionate and understanding voice. People feel safe with her.

What I have noticed recently is that Susan has become more confrontational, more ready to take a stand and argue a point than before. In a rather defensive way. This has lead me to wonder what is going on.

I was warned several years ago by Lowell Habel who was teaching a class at UCLA called Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace that once you started to study and learn about how we communicate and what people are actually saying, it can be a little scary. Because people tell the world what is going on even when they don’t say a word about what is going on.

Think about for a moment. Have you ever said “Hello” to someone and had them dump their entire life story in your lap? How about the guy who asks a girl on a first date and has her explain the rules which include no sex unless there is a serious commitment involved? What about the store clerk who is filled with vitriol towards every customer, or the nurse who grimaces at body fluids? What are they telling you?

Actually, they are telling you a lot, if you know what to look for. In fact, every single one of us does this. What we say, how we say it, the accent we use all tell a story. What we focus on in our conversation also tells the world a great deal about us.

I think I have talked about the boss I had who related everything to sex. Common wisdom is that he does not find fulfillment in his sexual activities, whether he is active or not. But that this – sex – is his standard of success and power.

I am reminded on someone I used to work with who, when asked, how are you, would tell you all about her family. One day someone said, that’s nice, but how are YOU? She cried. Because she hadn’t focused on HERSELF for a long time and through her speech, she had been telling everyone, although it took a long time for anyone to recognize this.

Now here is the good news! You can change. By choosing to become more aware of what you are saying, you will start to notice themes and patterns. And I am talking about the words here. For example, it is very hard to believe someone is spiritual if all they talk about is physical world reality and personal possessions. But if that person were to choose to talk about the physical world in terms of beauty and joy that they get from having these things in their lives, they come off as way more spiritual. It is a subtle difference, but it changes everything.

And a major step in this evolution really is simply to become more aware. Once you do that, you are able to figure out better ways to support your agenda through language. The choice is yours. Take a moment or two over the next few days to check in. Look at what you are saying and how you are saying it. Youmigjht be surprised at what you find.

As for Susan, we’ll see if she returns to her previous way of communicating or if she reveals what is going on in her life. Either way, it will be interesting to watch.

Things to think about. Until next time.


So sometimes I can be a little puerile. . .

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Okay, there are many things which I just don’t get. I don’t get other peoples discomfort with sex, sexuality, bodies, body functions. Never laughed at a fart joke – well that I can remember – or understood why people have 100 different names for body parts. You know the ones, Vigina and Penis. And after turning 21 still giggle like school girls when they say those word.

I have to be honest, this doesn’t make me terribly popular at cocktail parties. Because who wants a guest who is terribly literal 90% of the time? I tend to be a little bit of a wet blanket.

But I am okay with that. I have come to understand that my strength is in other areas. And besides, people watching is so much fun.

To me, as a Coach, when I watch people I am always shocked at how much they give away about themselves. One man I have recently met was telling me that he was experiencing pain in his right shoulder which went all the way down his arm. When I suggested a visit to the chiropractor and Shiatsu massage, he informed me that having someone touch him in massage was his idea of hell and that he didn’t believe in chiropractic adjustments any more than he believed in witch craft.

I asked him if he bowels were as blocked as the rest of his view of life.

See, I can be a little puerile.

We tell people who we are within the first 10 mins of meeting someone. How do we carry ourselves? What words do we choose to use? How do we dress? Are we projecting confidence, fear, curiosity. Is the light in our eye wary or mischievous? Are we introverted or extroverted and how does that show? How much do we care about the opinion of the outside world and what are we willing to do, and in some cases sacrifice, to get it?

All of the above can be changed and adjusted. Through Coaching, therapy, yoga, education. There are many avenues. What is important is discovering and owning the essence of who you are or who I am. I own that I am pretty serious and that I don’t get a lot of things which tie many people together. But I also know where I stand on many issues. And I have learned through trial and error when it is appropriate to comment and take action or not.

So who do you want to be? What characteristics do you perceive as a short coming? Which do you feel are your strengths? Can you switch that up? Make friends with the short comings? Are you willing to make adjustments to them in order for them to better suit your agenda?

Things to think about. Until next time.


On what planet is it okay to say that? Or how social networking sites brings out the weirdness in some people

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Okay, I was on my Myspace page today cleaning out my in box. My MySpace account is for one of my hobbies, and as I have a website for that hobby now, I don’t spend a lot of time on MySpace anymore. So imagine my surprise when I received a message from an unknown man saying, “Why do you have to be so hot! Are you trying to drive me crazy?”

My knee jerk reaction was to message him and make a snarky comment about how I had planned this years ago because I knew that one day he would show up in my life (BTW – according to his profile, he lives in Tennessee,) and tormenting his is just what I had planned!

The second, almost simultaneous, reaction was to laugh because didn’t I just write about sensuality and my need to be open to receiving compliments? We do get what we ask for, in one form or another.

What got me thinking, though, was this guys delivery. We’ll call him Bob. I am going to choose to believe that Bob’s compliment was sincere. That from the photographs I have on my MySpace, he finds me to be attractive. I am also going to have to assume that, from his reaction, he isn’t the smoothest pebble on the beach. And he possibly has issues with victimhood where women are concerned. But it is his choice of language which is interesting to me. Because he probably isn’t aware that he comes off as a potential stalker. Slight exaggeration, but still.

How often do we suffer from Hoof in Mouth disease? Bob isn’t alone in this. I have seen C level executives open their mouths and say the most outrageous – and inappropriate – things. One man made a comment about a female executives breasts being beautiful. Another constantly talked about his level of excitement over a project in sexual terms. Still another made mildly racist and sexist comments in his daily conversations.

And none of these Executives were “old timers.” Most were, if not my contemporaries, with in a few years. They had been raised with Equal rights, the Civil Rights movement, etc. Many had taken classes in sensitivity training and how to be politically correct. But somewhere along the way, their filters got skewed and they made a decision that it was alright to say what ever came out of their mouth no matter how inappropriate it may be.

(Sidebar: I do not believe that it is a good thing to be politically correct to simply be politically correct. By the same token, telling someone that the are an a$$ can be done in a classier way which still, generally, gets the point across. There will always be that person who needs the two x four between the eyes.)

Here are some of my favorite examples of, On what planet does that work:

- Guys driving down the street honking at a woman who is walking by.
- A customer looking at a cashier and saying something to the effect of, You know, it doesn’t take an advanced degree to make change.
- A rider saying to a bus driver, Did you get your license out of a cracker jack box?
- A boss making any comment negative on what a subordinate owns or doesn’t own.
- Any presumptuous comment about physical features of anyone.
- Any presumptuous comment about anyone’s intelligence or lack there of.

Now negative and judgmental comments are never okay. End of story. Those comment reflect the speakers mind set and are many times a projection of his or her own insecurities and self perceptions. And they can prey on the insecurities of the person who is on the receiving end of the comment. Taken to an extreme, it is abusive and can cause long term damage to the recipient.

And in today’s atmosphere, law suits and disability leave, which costs the company money and other resources.

So what to do? As a Coach, if I had a Client who had a reputation for saying inappropriate things and they were trying to change that, I would start with empathy training. Because, like anger, it has been discovered that this type of behavior is grounded in a lack of or suppression of empathy towards other people. When working with high level Executives, two of the characteristics which many exhibit are extreme egotism and monomania. So a series of exercises and discussions to help the Client to start to see the bigger picture and the consequences of their words and actions would probably be the most effective way to assist them in shifting. An experiment in the vinegar vs honey philosophy may also be in order.

Part of this is Motivational Interviewing. What motivates the Client? Can that be used to assist him in changing his approach to the pattern he has identified to wok on? As we are working with Egotist, can we make it about them and yet also help them to become more empathetic towards others? It is an interesting question and challenge.

As far as Bob goes, I am choosing to ignore him. If I hear from him again and am uncomfortable, I will make a report to my local PD, just as a precaution. Meanwhile, I will take his compliment as sincere, simply poorly stated, and move on.

So the question is this: where can you expand your empathy?

Things to think about. Until next time.


I miss my old boyfriend, or how I am rediscovering my own sensuality

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook status today: “Thinking of YOU!! Never regret something that once made you smile ;) ” (Thank you Gardenia Kock)

It got me thinking, and one of the things which I discovered was this:

I miss my old boyfriend.

Okay, for those who went through the break up with me, you can calm down. I don’t miss everything about John. In fact, there are many things which I freely acknowledge that I am happier and much better off without. There were problems with the very premise of the relationship and I now know that it was designed to fail.

But this is what I miss:

I miss the sensuality. And I am not talking about sex.

Okay, as an Executive Coach, I probably shouldn’t talk about sensuality. Afterall, in business, there are multiple issues which are considered to be taboo. Sensuality is one of them. Which I find ironic, as so much of marketing is pitched in terms of things being sexy, or something improving our attraction to the opposite sex. But I digress. . .

John loved sensual things. Silk clothing, good food, colour. There was an enjoyment of the senses. Whether is was a beautiful sunset or the curve of a hip. Good music, good wine, you get the idea. And he encouraged me to indulge in this richness, both externally and internally.

(Just FYI: I have been speaking with my friend, Dr. Felice Dunas, who is a Dr. of Chinese Medicine specializing in Spiritual Sexuality. Check her out at She has a very straight forward way of looking at sexuality, sensuality, pleasure and their connection to the world both inner and outer.)

Many people become very uncomfortable with the idea of sensuality. Especially in connection to our inner lives. There is a judgment that if we are filled with beauty, only see beauty, only experience beauty, we are some how hedonists and therefore, bad. Equally, here in Western society, we are frequently told that if we live a Spartan life, sacrifice and do not indulge – ever – we are guaranteed to be fulfilled. That by withholding, we somehow are more worthy and therefore to be more admired.

Now, the caveat on all of this is that overindulgence and a disconnection from the spiritual part of life is just as damaging as a lack of indulgence. If sensuality, like anything else, is done simply for the sake of pure self indulgence, it brings no real richness into your life. As the Greeks say, moderation in everything.

The other aspect of this, and why I miss my ex, is that really embracing your sensuality, both interior and exterior, can be very challenging because so many people are afraid of that aspect of themselves. When I was involved with John, that aspect of myself was not only encouraged, but embraced, both literally and figuratively. Once away from that protected environment, it became a liability, because people did not understand it and were confused by it. (One man told me that he was actually shocked that I could hold an intelligent conversation. Not because he assumed that I was stupid, but because he the only thing he noticed was the sensuality. After figuring out I had a brain also, he never called me again.)

So what to do? My original reaction was to gain 30 lbs. I did away with much of the external stuff which was a reflection of sensuality. And more telling, I stopped actively embracing the internal life which was filled with richness and beauty which I had cultivated before and during my relationship.

This is, for me the most telling part. Not only was I no longer studying many interesting and sometimes arcane ideas, but I was also suppressing things such as joy, love, laughter. I wasn’t embracing colour and feeling, because I not only felt that this would protect me, but also because I perceived that other people were uncomfortable with me when I did this. That I suddenly became someone who was unapproachable, and unfathomable. While there may have been some truth in this, my choice to suppress this aspect of myself did not support my agenda to be true to who I am. It also provided an additional layer between myself and others, as I came off guarded and slightly more inaccessible than before.

Now, the solution to this situation is multifaceted. As a Coach, anyone who has worked with me and followed my blog knows that one of the steps I ask is that the client is willing to do things which will make them uncomfortable. This includes things such as journaling with a focus on discovering a pattern, to look for any preconceived ideas which the actions were challenging and perhaps discover what was underneath them. But also as a way to check on progress and see change. I would encourage my client to change how they were presenting themselves to the world. In my particular case, to stop living in jeans, yoga pants and Uggs and to start wearing clothing which was not only fun but colourful. And has a sensuality about it. To make it a habit to use body lotion every night before I go to bed, as well as fragrant bath oils and soaps. Small luxuries, but things which can start to gently shift a perspective.

I also would suggest that my Client notice their immediate reaction to any compliment they receive from members of the opposite sex. And to practice a set of responses which allow the Client to be gracious in accepting the compliment without the knee jerk reaction to be protective. To being open to receiving. It can be a challenge. Especially if there is early patterning which suggests that a compliment is to be dismissed or down played in order to appear modest. A simple and sincere Thank you is always good.

This evolution is not something which will happen over night. But the interesting thing which has been discovered time and again is that when the Client is ready and open to these changes, the opportunities and the tools necessary for the Clients grown, appear.

Things to think about.

Until next time.